[Review] Don’t Teach Me – Ailee

With the big post of the week out the way, it is time to return to the usual programme of reviews. And there is a lot to cover this week. For this post, I will be looking at the long-awaited return of Ailee, who returned on Wednesday with Don’t Teach Me and her third studio-length album, Amy. This is Ailee first release since the pre-release single Make Up Your Mind from earlier on in the year, which is also featured on this album. This release also marks her first major release under THE L1VE, which is also home to Wheein (of Mamamoo).

Don’t Teach Me delves into the old swing genre with its brassy and old-style instrumental that just has this golden yet vintage glow. You will very much know that I enjoy brass elements, especially when it is used in upbeat applications. And so Don’t Teach Me ticks that box instantly. When the song hits the chorus, the instrumental makes me want to get up and dance. I had to refrain from doing so, or else there would be no review! What makes Don’t Teach Me even better is Ailee herself. It has been a while since we heard a powerful display of vocals from Ailee, and she just takes Don’t Teach Me to the next level. At the start of the song, Ailee’s vocals (paired with minimal piano) added suspense to the song and intrigued me into listening further to Don’t Teach Me. When we get to the choruses, Ailee really throws powerful vocals at us, as we get to the end of the segment. This naturally adds definition and oomph to the song that just takes the song to the next level. I think the song could have used some more interesting hooks. The ‘Please Don’t Teach Me‘ hook that follows the second and third choruses felt somewhat one-dimensional and didn’t really feel like it matched the rest of the song. It worked well, but I think Don’t Teach Me would have been a vastly better song with something bolder and punchy. But overall, Don’t Teach Me is a fantastic comeback from Ailee. It has been a while since we heard from her in this light and it was definitely satisfying to finally get something so.

Unfortunately, the music video didn’t fare as well as the song. While the setting, outfits (and damn, does Ailee look great throughout this video) and concept match the song and its lyrics wonderfully, I found the video to be dry. Essentially, the video is about Ailee making a statement to ‘all the boys who think they can control a woman’ and hence makes all the heads turn in her direction. I wished they did something more with all those people in that ballroom, that would have made the video a bit more interesting. However, there was one ballroom segment which I thought was pretty cool. At the start of the final chorus, Ailee’s vocals and energy broke a mirror and statue in time with the music. It was a clever and fun nod to both the message of the song/video and Ailee’s powerfulness.

The performance itself was quite good. There isn’t anything really special about the performance, but I liked that it was well-fitted to the song and had an element of fun to it as well. Ailee offset the lack of something special with her live vocals, which is still something to be in awe of.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

[Review] Make Up Your Mind – Ailee

We turn to a more recent release following my review yesterday for a 4 to 6 month old song (depending on what you would consider its release date). And this release is by Ailee, who makes her return to the KPOP scene through the title track Make Up Your Mind. Make Up Your Mind is featured on her pre-release mini-album, Lovin’, which marks her impending return with her third studio album in the near future. Lovin’ also features Spring Flowers as another lead track from the mini-album, but it doesn’t have an official music video and hence I won’t be reviewing it. Her last comeback was back in October of last year with the mini-album I’m and the title track When We Were In Love.

Make Up Your Mind is a pretty decent modern pop song with an instrumental that is quite airy but also textured. I guess this combination was intentional to keep the song interesting and substanced. Otherwise, I think the song would have been a bit too light and would be unforgettable. The main issue for me in regards to Make Up Your Mind is that it is a pretty repetitive on the instrumental front and doesn’t really delivery anything new or memorable by the time the song wraps up. If you heard the first verse and chorus, you have pretty much heard all of Make Up Your Mind. And after multiple listens, you are looking forward to a different song from the artist. I wished there was something more gripping or dynamic about the song. That way I would be more inclined to return to the song for further replays. On the flipside, I do appreciate that airiness and breezy nature, which is still a nice contrast to the texture we get through the synths as mentioned at the start. Per any of Ailee’s songs, her vocals are what is foremost and centre in the song. Ailee compliments that airiness and breezy nature of the song by opting for light vocals herself. While this is a great match, I do miss her more substantial releases that contains super powerful vocals. We know what Ailee is capable of based on her earlier singles. Make Up Your Mind doesn’t satisify that craving and I personally wanted more. To me, this songs fits neatly as a pre-release single and not as title track material. Let’s just hope that whatever follows Make Up Your Mind satsifies those cravings I mentioned earlier and provide us with something that is more driven.

The music video (or music v-log as the video has it in the title of the video) features both Ailee and Park Eun Seok (more recently known as Logan Lee from The Penthouse series). In the video, the pair acts as friends who have feelings for one another. They go on trips with one another and care for each other. But it seems like Ailee is waiting for Park Eun Seok to make the first move. And in the end, he doesn’t for whatever reason. This is why Ailee is singing lines such as “You take your time. Like a lover, show me how you feel to me now.” and “Tease is attractive. But” in this song. It makes sense. One thing I wished about the music video did better was that the story came together a lot more fluildly that what it did. They felt very disjointed and poorly sequenced in my opinion. Personally, I don’t have much to say about the couple scenes, but her solo shots during the pre-choruses gives off an snobby impression which I am personally not a fan of. I might be percieving the visuals wrong but that is what I got from the video unfortuately.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

[Review] Sweater – Ailee

Ailee is nominated for Best Female Solo Artist in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. To support Ailee and your other favourite artists, click here to vote before the 31st of December.

Earlier this year, Ailee made her long awaited comeback with Room Shaker. However, it was quickly forgotten due to lack of promotions and what was assumed to be conflict with her managing company. But since then, Ailee has signed with another company, making way for new releases in the future. She has also signed with an American company for future releases in the Western market. Her first release since signing on with different companies comes in the form of Sweater, a single released in both Korean and English.

Described as a Christmas ballad, Ailee draws our attention to Sweater in an effortless manner by appealing to our emotions through a beautiful and elegant sounding piece. Per usual, the ballad opts for a simple piano and violin instrumental, providing a very bare blank canvas for Ailee’s vocals to paint a picture on. And the image she manages to draw just sounds amazing. Her voice alone captivates and builds in a manner that makes the song as captivating as a dance track that builds perfectly into a dynamic piece. The only thing that changes between the two versions of the song are the language that the lyrics are in. I had expected there to be minute differences in the melody or overall audio aesthetics of the song (as often observed in Japanese version of Korean tracks and vice versa), but Ailee seems to have managed to polished both in a manner that these minute differences are well covered up or are non-existent.

Yes, you can feel the emotions when you listen to Ailee sing the song. But the music video just enhances the emotions you feel so that it is a lot more impact. Everyone we see in the music video has experienced loss. And from what I know, Christmas in Korea is more of a time to spend with your lover or friend, rather than family. So in this video, we see the first guy leave flowers by the intersection where his fiance was killed. The piano playing lady lost her husband and is counting down the days to his anniversary. The female student lost her mother, while the old man lost his wife. But each of these people have an item from their significant other. The guy has the two rings, the piano lady has a diary, the student has a key ring and old man has a notepad of his wife’s recipes. The saddest part is seeing them hold these items to themselves and watching them cry, as Ailee’s voice echoes in the background. In the end, we see them with their loved ones in a shop, showing the bond they had and still have during the Christmas period.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10

Overall Rating – 10/10

[Album Review] butterFLY (2nd Studio Album) – Ailee

Returning last week with Room Shaker was Ailee. As mentioned last week, I will be focusing on solo artists this weekend. I have decided to focus on one last solo artist next Thursday (I think you might be able to guess who) before returning next weekend to write album reviews for group releases. But let’s refocus on Ailee, who made her grand return with butterFLY (her second studio album). It has been disappointing to see that Ailee has yet to return to the stage. I don’t have any idea what is going on at the moment between Ailee’s management and the music shows. But hopefully, all misunderstandings are solved soon, so that we can see Ailee return to the stage once again!

butterFLY Album Cover

1..Midnight – Kickstarting off Ailee’s second album is Midnight. The instrumentation does give off an atmosphere like how the stars are twinkling in the night sky during the verses. The chorus manages to kick it up a notch, complimenting Ailee’s vocal push. Apart from the vocals and the instrumentation during the verses, I found the song to be quite plain. But considering it has been some time since we heard Ailee, it might be a nice way to re-familiarise with her vocals without being overwhelmed by a loaded song. (8/10)

2. Want ItWant It brings a groovy instrumental to the album. There is a retro colour (thanks to the brass) to the song, which reminds me of her popular tracks. I think this would be a nice performance to watch as well, especially if there is a retro/disco flair to the stage as well. Her vocals here are, per usual, superb. I had a feeling that she could have gone the extra length with her singing, as there were times where I had the impression she was holding back. But the more I listen to the song, the less of that I think (and the more I want to boogie to the song). (8.5/10)

3. Headlock – Ailee is known for her amazing vocals and if any song was to prove that fact, it would be this one. That is the main driver of the song, with the instrumentation acting as a sidekick. Headlock starts with a clapping beat, which it maintains throughout the entire track as the foundation of the song. The rest of the instrumentation comes later, turning the song into a little funky tune. The best part has to be the punchy effect just before the chorus. But whatever section I am listening to, it also contributed to a spectacular track. (9/10)

4. Room Shaker (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Room Shaker. (9/10)

5. LOVE (ft. Chen from EXO) – Besides Room Shaker, fans are most excited for LOVE. The reason for this excitement is obvious. The track features Chen from EXO, who is known for his vocals (just listen to Beautiful Goodbye if you are not convinced). The track is an R&B ballad that is produced to showcase both artist’s vocals. The instrumental was very elegant and pleasant, which further highlights its potential. Both their voices were beautiful. Though the harmonies were very limited, I did like what was given to us. The flip-side of that comment is that I expected a little more in the harmony/singing together department and the limited nature was a little disappointing. (9/10)

6. Nothing At AllNothing At All is a ballad, just not the type of ballad one would expect given the song’s lyrics. The lyrics tell of the heartbreak that comes when someone is trying to forget a former lover. But listening to the track’s tone, you don’t really get that heartbreaking feeling, thanks to the slightly brighter than usual instrumentation. The piano was repetitive. But I felt that was the blank canvas (same analogy again) that I refer to often, giving way for her vocals to take over the song. On the topic of her vocals, I really like her singing here. It was textured throughout, and her tone made it very interesting. (9/10)

7. You Are Precious Because of Who You Are (그대는 그대라 소중해) – This track (sorry, the title is a tad too long for me to type out) is another ballad. But how the instrumental started off gave me grand and epic vibes, making me look forward to the entirety of the track. And it does not let you down! I like its soothing nature at the start, which reflects well with Ailee’s voice. I also enjoyed the gradual build-up throughout the song, which really made the song even more appealing (the high note at the end was an amazing peak). The song sings about how everyone is unique and that it is perfectly okay to be different, repeating a common message that we hear often nowadays. (9/10)

8. FireFire returns to the more upbeat dance tracks we heard at the start of the album. It is a little unique, given her vocals in this track. I am not exactly a fan of the song, for the same reasons. She does showcase some versatility in her vocal abilities. But I am not a fan of the high-pitched ending to the word Fire which she repeats throughout the song. It gets annoying for me. I did like the pop instrumentation. Though, I was hoping for more attitude as I was led to believe through the start of the song. But sadly, I wasn’t satisfied. (6/10)

9. Ain’t That PrettyAin’t That Pretty is a pretty dynamic track, something I had expected with Fire (based on the title alone). I really like the instrumental for this track, especially the distortion that occurred during the chorus. I also like how she started off with a little raspy tone. The track also tells of hardships that Ailee had experienced so far as an artist. Based on the meaning behind the song, the track sounds a lot fresher than if she went with a cliché ballad. It feels more modern and impactful this way. (8/10)

10. HeartcrusherHeartcrusher is a little surprising as it is entirely in English. I like the Western vibes that come from the EDM based instrumental. Ailee’s voice flourishes in this track, remaining on top of the instrumentation throughout its 3-minute run. The lyrics were very striking, especially the start sounded. My only complaint about this song was that it went by so quickly. Other than that, I end Ailee’s second album on a very dynamic note. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

butterFLY Teaser Image

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[Review] Room Shaker – Ailee

If you have only become a KPOP fan in the last year, chances are you haven’t heard of Ailee. Known for amazingly powerful vocals, Ailee has proven herself to be an artist to keep an eye out for. Tracks like I Will Show You, U&I, If You and many others are just solid proof of that. Today, she returned for the first time in 2 years with Room Shaker, the title track from her second studio album, Butterfly. This is her first comeback since her 2017 single (Reminiscing) and her very popular OST hit, I Will Go to You Like the First Snow.

I think the majority of her tracks that made her popular prior to 2017 either delved into the pop genre or were a ballad to showcase her vocals. But with a long absence from the music scene standing in her way, Ailee could only return with either a sound that makes people remember her more successful tracks or a sound that is completely different but extremely memorable. Room Shaker chooses the latter option, with Ailee redefining her usual sound. It focuses on a powerful hip–hop sound that does not hold back. I think one of the star attractions has to be the instrumentation. It is energetic and acts as a memorable hook, especially the brass-heavy post-chorus section. She raps in the track, which is something new from the solo artist if I am not mistaken. One of my favourite parts has to be the ‘Go Merry Go Round‘ whisper in the second verse. And while it is a hip-hop track, her vocals do manage to be another star attraction. Her high note brought back fond memories of her high notes from the past. Overall, I thought this was a successful return music-wise for Ailee, who definitely reminded me why I missed her.

With an edgy sound like in Room Shaker, you expect something equally as edgy in the video. Otherwise, the video would have completely missed the plot. However, Room Shaker hits the bullseye. It is definitely edgy and there is a lot of the attitude visually in this video, perfect for the track. And there is a literal shakeup in the classroom for this comeback, which goes hand-in-hand with both the lyrics (having a good time) and the title. Ailee looks amazing in the video as well, with all her close-ups leaving a stunning image of her in your mind.

And with an energy-filled song, the choreography is something to look out for. I really liked how the moves got her going low just for the first chorus. The second and final choruses didn’t have her repeating the same moves, as this will keep the first chorus looking impactful each time we see it. I think the moves during her post-chorus dance breaks were awesome and her back-up dancer seat lift was an awesome way to present the high note.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] If You – Ailee

[This review was written and scheduled a few months back in preparation for my absence in December. The standard posts for the end of the year (comebacks I have missed in November & December, the end of year charts + KPOPreviewed awards) will be written and posted after my return. No weekly charts will be uploaded for the last week of November and all of December.]

Ailee released If You as a pre-release single off her latest mini-album, A New Empire. This release occurred on the 23rd of August this year. This ended up being her first release since her comeback in 2015.

This ballad is. by far, one of the best ballads of the year. The song fits the Summer season (when it was initially released) perfectly. When it comes to the words Ballad and Summer are in the same sentence, this song’s instrumental is what you expect. Throw in Ailee’s vocal work and you have a pretty good song. It just lacks impact. All of Ailee’s songs (and even Ailee’s Home, which I deemed lacking as well) are hard-hitting. This just doesn’t reach that peak. But still, it is a pretty nice song to listen to. Actually, the combination of vocals and instrumental sounds like a happy tune from a gospel choir or like one of those beautiful sounding soulful songs. The way she opens each chorus was “If You~” sounds effortlessly amazing and it stays in my head every single time I hear the song. Her ad-libs towards the end were amazing as well.

The video features Nayoung from I.O.I. She plays the female in the video. Not sure who the male is. The video is a little confusing to understand, but you do get it in the end. Essentially, everything she sees is flashbacks of her past relationships. She has to leave them behind (i.e. enter a new door) to get over them. So the video is like her journey. In the end, she reaches her goal of getting past her old relationships (because clearly, she doesn’t want those memories to be repeated with her current boyfriend) and embraces her current boyfriend. The plot ties in nicely with the lyrics. Not really liking the acting in the video. Her face seems a little frozen. If her facial expressions were more expressive, I think I would have liked the video a little bit more. But overall, the video is nice to watch.

Rating – 9/10 

[Review] Home – Ailee ft. Yoo Mi Rae

Ailee has recently made her solo comeback with Home. While Home is the first time we have seen her on stage for a while, she has been busy with a lot of other solo work. She has held concerts, special stages, collaborated on various projects and released a pre-release single a month ahead of her actual release of the mini album. (I have yet to review If You. It may be on my list ‘to review’). (Fun Fact) Home features Yoo Mi Rae, who Ailee had to beg to feature in this song.

Ailee has left me disappointed once again. Last time she was on stage with Mind Your Own Business, I described her song as good. Compared to her previous songs, that is quite disappointing. If You is a solid song and a greater refresher since she hasn’t released ballads of any kind of a while. Home just completely missed the target. The song is quite simple. A nice dubstep instrumental, Ailee’s amazing vocals and Yoo Mae Ri’s powerful rapping. But when I listen to them coming together, it just didn’t cut out for me. I felt the instrumental was overpowering, especially during the chorus. Her vocals didn’t seem to go that far this time around. However, when I pay attention to the instrumental separately, pay attention to her vocals separately, everything sounds fine. Odd review so far isn’t. Let’s move back to some praises to end on a much higher note. I love how she managed to infuse the RnB genre in with her EDM and dubstep. It sounds really cool and pretty refreshing. Her ad-libs in the song were amazing as well. Always can count on Ailee for amazing ad-libs.

Her visuals are stunning. I may have been disappointed with the song, but her looks in the video were spectacular. Her hair style is amazing and while I am a guy, she totally rocked everything she wore in the video. The music video gave off a nice mysterious vibe and I am a major sucker for the dark vibe. Especially when it is tied in with the idea of love. This video does that spot on. Her presence in the video is very strong and it leaves a long lasting impression on you, especially after you finish watching it, causing you to go back even more. Not too sure about the ending the video where she is casually just starts burning her home down and mashing everything. It just doesn’t go well with the lyrics, but amazingly well with the instrumental. I actually think the shaky shots fit in well with the song and the overall concept of the comeback. I personally like the video quite a bit.

The dance suits the song really well. Probably would not have imagined it any other way (besides a stage with no dance, just her singing and wowing us with that stage presence alone). That being said, the dance is quite limited. It seems like she and the backup dancers are confined into a tiny space, rather than ‘taking over the stage’.

Rating – 6/10

Recap of Seoul Music Awards 2015 + Thoughts

The Seoul Music Awards is one of the award ceremonies held the year after for the year before. For example, the award ceremony for the 25th Seoul Music Award was held in 2016, but celebrates the flourishing artists of 2015. Understand yet? Well now that hard to understand concept has been dealt with, the 25th Seoul Music Award ceremony was held on the 14th of January 2016, in Seoul. It is said that this award ceremony is one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies for the year as it recognises the popular and talented artists of the year. Selection process for winners on the night are as follow: 20% mobile votes, 10% Popularity Polls, 40% music sales (both digital and physical album sales) and 30% judging panel’s scores. Only artists who released singles or albums in 2015 are eligible to win.

Like all ceremonies, a number of actors, actresses and other celebrities attended the event to give out awards. The night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, EXID’s Hani and Honey Lee. All artists that received the award on the night performed on stage (minus those whose awards were accepted on their behalf by label mates – Big Bang is who I am trying to refer to).

Just to recap the awards winners of the night:
Bonsang Awards – EXID, Red Velvet, Taeyeon (SNSD), VIXX, Yoon Mi Rae, Zion.T, BTS, EXO, APINK, Sistar, Big Bang & SHINee.
Best New Artist – iKON, GFriend, Seventeen
Performance Award – Hyukoh
Best Trot Award – Hong Jin Young
Best RnB Award – Sane
Best Ballad Award – BTOB
Best OST Award – Jang Jae In (performed with Wonwoo (Seventeen) on the night)
Male Dance Performance Award – Monsta X
Female Dance Performance Award – Ailee
Mobile Popularity Award – Kim Junsu (JYJ)
Hallyu Special Award – EXO
Record Of The Year (Digital Release) – Bang Bang Bang (Big Bang)
Record Of The Year (Physical Release) – Kiss My Lip (BOA)
Daesang Award (Best Artist Of The Year) – EXO

The Bonsang awards seem to be more representative of the mainstream KPOP this year. Finally, Seventeen get their Best New Artist award that I think they truly deserve. Most likely they got it for their record breaking album sales. And finally some people decided to pay attention to BTOB. I am not technically fond of their ballads in the past year, but hey, it looks like South Korea is finally paying attention to them. Ailee’s award is one I am not exactly sure of. I don’t think it was the best dance performance of the year. I think that belongs to a particular rookie who was present on the night as well. Regarding Kim Junsu, who was apparently not invited to the ceremony despite winning a key award on the night, there is some shady business going on. But hopefully, when this matter is resolved, justice for Junsu and JYJ will occur. 2015 was a step forward for them, with the introduction of the JYJ Law.

Ailee should not have been pestered for the cameras catching her “on her mobile”. The netizens make it sound like she was too busy texting another person or was too busy looking at pictures of food. Put simply, she was just downloading an app to support SHINee and was later seen supporting Boa. People should really see the bigger picture (or in this case, wait for it) before making a big deal out it. Also, Boa’s award. Even though it was nice to see her win something, I agree with a lot of people who say she got the award just because of her senior status. It was her 15 year anniversary and she probably wouldn’t have received any award for her album if she debuted later on. Also, Starship should not deprive Sistar of any chances to get on the stage. They looked like they really enjoyed being there and were probably excited for their first stage together in what seemed to be 6 months.

Performance wise, I actually did not pay that much attention to the performances in this ceremony. Some of them were disappointing to watch, while others just did not appeal to me or make me want to watch. All I am going to say is the few that I did manage to watch (mainly the first half) were okay. Just minus the introduction for EXID’s performance. That was shocking. Stand out was probably GFriend’s intro. While their fan chant came to a close second. I don’t why I feel that way regarding the performances, I just was not feeling it. For the past few years which I have been watching the SMA ceremonies, their performances are by far the weakest of all ceremonies. Below I have put a handful of performances that I could quickly find into a playlist from the night.

Well, that is it for my wrap up of the Seoul Music Awards 2016. Hopefully, next year is better. Less controversy and better stages required to make this an award ceremony that I can look forward to.


Recap of MAMA 2015 and Thoughts

Did you forget about the MAMA awards held by MNET in 2015? Or are we all trying to forget it for its bias and unfair system? Well, don’t fret, I am here to remind you of the disappointment or joy that you felt.

The MNET Asian Music Awards (or MAMA) was held on the 2nd of December in… Hong Kong. Again. Voting for the awards began in October of the same year and I thought there was a fair range of nominees and the committee selected a variety if talents for each award.

The following artists attended and performed at the awards ceremony: Taeyeon (SNSD), GOT7, BTS, Hyuna (4 minute), Park Ji Young, Seventeen, Monsta X, F(x), SHINEE, EXO, Big Bang, iKON, Zion.T, Crush, Sane. 2NE1 & Psy. Pet Shop Boys were invited as special guest performers on the night. Red Velvet, Twice, Tiffany and Seohyun from SNSD also attended by did not perform.

I have recapped the winners below. I shall give some comments afterwards regarding the winners.
Best New Male Artist – iKON.
Best New Female Artist – Twice.
Best Male Vocal Performance – Zion.T (Eat)
Best Female Vocal Performance – Ailee (Mind Your Business)
Best Male Dance Performance – SHINee (View).
Best Female Dance Performance – Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake)
Best Solo Dance Performance – Hyuna (Roll Deep).
Best Collaboration / Subunit – Zion.T & Crush (Just)
Best Rap Performance – Sane (Me You)
Best Band Performance – CN BLUE (Cinderella)
Best Male Group – EXO
Best Female Group – SNSD
Best Male Artist – Park Jin Young
Best Female Artist – Taeyeon
Best Music Video – Bang Bang Bang
Best Album (Album of the Year) – EXODUS
Best Song (Song Of The Year) – Bang Bang Bang
Best Artist (Artist Of The Year) – Big Bang

Best New Male Artist is probably the category that has me shaking my head the most. iKON is slowly showing their capability, but I feel like Seventeen is already two steps ahead of them and deserve the award more. Best Female Vocal Performance should have gone to Taeyeon and Taeyeon should have received 2 awards that night. Not dissing Ailee, but it wasn’t her best song or vocal performance. Best Music Video should have also gone to F(x). Best Male Dance Performance is an iffy category for me. SHINee did have a great dance, but sadly, I felt that BTS was missing out due to the lack of nomination in that category. Big Bang took out most of the awards, but I don’t think it matters. Big Bang dominated summer in South Korea last year with their continuous releases and had one of the most popular songs of the year (according to download and streaming charts). JYP’s award caught me a little off guard but I guess out of all the nominees, he had a good song. Besides the categories I mentioned, I think the awards were “fair”. Okay maybe not, but who MAMA awarded that night, I mostly agree with (given the nominees).

But wait, there were a few more awards that were given out that night:
Worldwide Favourite Artist – Big Bang
Global Fan’s Choice Male Artist – EXO
Global Fan’s Choice Female Artist – F(x)
Best World Performers – BTS
Next Generation Asian Artist – Monsta X
Best Asian Style – EXO
Worldwide Inspiration Award – Pet Shop Boys
There were also other awards which were awarded to artists from other countries as Best Asian Artist. Best Engineer, Best Live Entertainment and Best Producer awards were also given to 3 people for each award from different countries.

Out of these awards, I am a little confused with the Best Asian Style award. Out of all that walked the red carpet, I was shocked when EXO came along. Also, Pet Shop Boys. I am with majority of people who have never heard of the band before.

Per usual, there were many different performances on the night. The show opened up with Taeyeon’s I, which I thought was a really beautiful stage. She sounded flawlessly on the stage. BTS made their comeback on the night and collaborated with GOT7, who also performed If You Do. JYP had a special stage which probably scarred both GOT7 and Twice and he went a little wild towards the end of his performance. iKON performed a medley of their songs. Monsta X and Seventeen collaborated, while F(x) and Pet Shop Boys joined hands together. We also saw Sane perform with Hyuna and Jessi. Also a stage with both Show Me The Money contestants and Unpretty Rapstar. EXO, SHINee, Big Bang each had their stages with multiple songs and got the audience really hyped up. Psy also made his comeback and performed alongside with his new songs, Gangnam Style. Probably the most talk that night was 2NE1’s performance which caught everyone off guard. It was nice to see them, but whether it was appropriate is just another topic all together.

Out of all the stages, I thought Taeyeon had the most beautiful stage. For the dance aspect, Seventeen and Monsta X’s performance was really well polished and amazing.

Overall, I thought the night was worth it. It may seem like YG has a lot of influence over the MAMA awards and that is probably true. But whether it is right or not, is another discussion in its self. Just regarding the invitations to the awards, it did seem like someone did forget to invite people. Some stages seem like they could have used a little more attention to give it that grand feel that the MAMA awards is meant to uphold, like in previous years. But overall, I thought the night was pretty good. Wait… Did I just repeat the first sentence of this paragraph? Guess I am going to call it a day now. Hope you enjoyed my recap!

Q&A – Seventeen (S.Coups, Woozi & Vernon) & Ailee

First of the last four reviews of the year. Q&A is a collaboration between Ailee, the vocal queen of KPOP and Seventeen, the rising KPOP rookie group. And honestly, it is a really nice song to listen to. It’s bright and vibrant to listen to. There is a strong American influence throughout the whole song, I think. Every time I listen to the song, I know that there is some sort of foreign influence to the song. The song flows quite well and is extremely pleasant to listen to. I love the pairing of vocals. Both Ailee’s and Woozi’s voice go really well together, and top of that, the member’s deep sounding raps really bring the song together. Some of you may be wondering about the title. Essentially, the song’s lyrics are like two people sharing their feelings, but through asking questions and seeking answers, hence Q&A. They are not asking literal questions, just the lyrics (when translated) seem like they’re having a conversation (asking questions and seeking answers). Very interesting concept and equally unique. The instrumental is a little bland, but overall, the song is great to listen to and chill.

As for the music video, the concept is a little clearer. Essentially the girl is making the boys sit through a test to probably determine who would be the most suitable to be her next boyfriend. The boys are studying extremely hard (or too busy posing for the camera). And then we see the boys take the test (but I don’t think they got that far). They even had to result to cheating (with very obvious means). Honestly, the concept of the video weaves into the song a lot more better than the song and I like that about it. Apparently, you get blood noses when you study in South Korea. Seen it in the video and also in many dramas. Funny, cause the only time I get blood noses is when I get I hit in the face with a ball. There also the guys represents different students. Woozi is the one that actually studies, Vernon is the one that looks like they are studying and S.Coups is the one that gives no crap about what he is doing (I am personally a mixture of Woozi and S.Coups. Who are you?). Disappointed Ailee was not in the video.

Overall, great collaboration. 9/10 

Mind Your Own Business – Ailee

The song is pretty good, but it really does not have that Ailee feel to it. Yes, it is powerful. Yes, it has Ailee’s vocals. But it lacks something to take it to the next level. It sounds like a typical song that really does not stand out. All of her previous songs have that unique sound that makes it stand out, but this, it is lacking something. That something, I have no idea. Her vocals are superb as always and she has never failed us there. I enjoy how catchy the song is. That part right after the first part of the chorus has me rocking me head along to the beat. The instrumental was great. Fast paced, catchy and saxophones are always sexy. Hahaha… I still don’t know what is lacking. There is something missing that brings it up to the level of the past Ailee’s hits that we know of. To me, personally, this is her weakest song. It is powerful but compared to the rest of her other songs, it isn’t anywhere near.

The music video has me going wow. First of all, I hate characters who expect everything to be done for them. Ailee, if you want to trash his car, I think it would mean a whole lot more and it would be much more satisfying to trash it yourself. You didn’t have to do all of it, just if I were in your shoes, I would have a hella great time taking a hammer and smashing the windscreen. And you need some tips on hiding. Or maybe driving away, cause after all you are sitting behind a wheel of a car. Another thing, where did this injury come from? Cause damn, everything in this music video has her on two feet. I remember reading somewhere that she injured herself during filming (not sure if it was music video filming or something else). I love the hint of comedy in the video. Ailee kicks to the door to get it open, but then it was a pull type of door not a push type of door. Oh, we all have those days Ailee, don’t you worry. But I thought this was a cool video. It matched the lyrics and the power that the song had.

We don’t see Ailee dance that much in this music video and we don’t see her dance at all during the live performances. Such a pity. While it does look awkward with her sitting on a chair, she manages to bring that style and power that she always manages to bring to the stage. I do enjoy the air punches and all that fighting combat. But the start where the girls are standing in a line and touching the side of the other girls but, with sharp movements. It just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the dance.

Overall, it was a nice comeback. But I still don’t know what they missing thing is. Maybe I am overlooking everything and she has everything in the song. 7/10


End Of Year Charts 2014

Welcome to the end of the 2014 charts. This chart has every single song that was released from the 1st of January 2014 to the 1st of December. I left the nitty gritty stuff out (aka. the numbers I used for the ranking) and made sure that everything was fair. So that means for songs that were released towards the end of the year would have received some extra increment to make sure that they were levelled out with the songs released in January. Other numbers used included whether songs were on the YouTube Playlist of The Month and each song was re-reviewed in categories of “song, music video and dance”. Below are just some interesting facts that you may enjoy in regards to this chart.

  • The very first song released to be included on the charts are Rain’s 30 Sexy and La Song. The last song released before the cut off date was Infinite F’s Heartbeat.
  • T-Ara’s Sugar Free (2) was the only song throughout the whole chart to score the maximum of 40 for the song re-review.
  • VIXX is the first boy group to appear in the charts at 14th place with Eternity.
  • As touched on above, this year the charts are dominated by the girl groups, with 13 boy groups versus 37 girl groups (repeated groups not excluded).
  • Heavily promoted songs tend to rank higher than songs that were released as a single and not promoted.
  • The following artists achieved the next few positions after 50th place: SPEED, Crayon Pop, Z:EA, Zhou Mi (Super Junior), BTOB, Infinite, UKISS, AOA and Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
1 Something Girl’s Day
2 Sugar Free T-Ara
3 Up & Down EXID
4 Monday Blues Sunny Hill
5 Piano Man Mamamoo
6 Darling Girl’s Day
7 I’m In Love Secret
8 Mr. Chu A Pink
9 Yasisi NS Yoon G
10 Red Light F(x)
11 One More Fiestar
12 Good Night Kiss Hyosung (Secret)
13 Ain’t Nobody HA:TFELT (Yenny – Wonder Girls)
14 Eternity VIXX
15 You Don’t Love Me Spica
16 So Wonderful Ladies Code
17 This Is Love Super Junior
18 Luv APINK
19 Like A Cat AOA
20 B.B.B (Big Baby Baby) Dal Shabet
21 Good Luck Beast
22 Cha Cha Rainbow BLAXX
23 Full Moon Sunmi ft. Lena
24 Error VIXX
25 Catallena Orange Caramel
26 My Copy Cat Orange Caramel
27 Don’t Look At Me Like That Song Ji Eun (Secret)
28 Back Infinite
29 8Dayz Megan Lee
30 What About You? Laboum
31 Dont Touch Me Ailee
32 I Swear Sistar
33 Singing Got Better Ailee
34 1004 (Angel) B.A.P
35 Danger BTS
36 12:30 Beast
37 Mr. Ambigious Mamamoo
38 Lonely B1A4
39 Beep Beep BTOB
40 Mamma Mia Kara
41 I Need You Bestie
42 Solo Day B1A4
43 Whatcha Doing Today? 4Minute
44 Pretty Age 25 Song Ji Eun (Secret)
45 1 Minute 1 Second Jiyeon (T-Ara)
46 Peppermint Chocolate Mamamoo ft. K.Will & Wheesung
47 FxxK U Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
48 Touch My Body Sistar
49 Evanesce Super Junior
50 Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms HIGH4 ft. IU

THAT’S IT!!! 2014 IS OVER AND 2015 IS APPROACHING. WISHING YOU ALL (IN YOUR RESPECTIVE TIME ZONES) A HAPPY NEW YEAR. I only have 6 hours to go and I am excited. Party hard (but not too hard) and I will see you next year!! aka. in the next few days ^^

Catch Up Review #6 – Girl’s Day, Ailee, Spica S

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These girl groups are potentially rising girl groups or rising solo artists (some may argue that they are already there as one of the hottest groups in Korea at this very moment). So of course, I had to review them… Cause they are basically the future of KPOP (no offence to any other bands out there) -runs away from fangirls and fanboys-

I Miss You – Girl’s Day

This song was released in a way to allow the girls to say thank you to the fans recently. On top of that, this is the first major release from the band that is basically a ballad. And this ballad was amazing. The vocals were superb. Sometimes, some groups have very unclear vocals when they sing ballad, but these girls are really clear. I have to say one thing though. The rapping should not have been included. It was autotuned and really did not fit the ballad style. The music video was also quite boring to watch. There really was nothing going on during the video at all, beside the girls remember past memories of their boyfriends. Not really that memorable. And that final scene with the snow. It really was a mismatch with them smiling, when the song and the rest of the video having a really sad mood. 7/10

Don’t Touch Me – Ailee

Ailee should always come out with really strong songs. And these type of songs really compliment her empowering voice making everything sound much better. Her vocals here, once again, are top notch. The chorus was really catchy from the song to the dance. The music video was a disappointment. I expected a little more beside “Ailee” close-ups. The dance was really good, especially at the chorus. Though, something that every single person has asked regarding this comeback, what the *%$? are the back up dancers wearing? Why are they in witches hat and stuff? What is this concept??? WHY??? WHY??? 7/10

Give Your Love – Spica S

This is by far not their memorable comeback to date. Spica S is essentially Spica with Boa missing, so really… But anyway, we all know how vocally powerful the band is but this song fails to highlight this exact skill that the members have. The song really was not a stand out and is something that will be forgotten easily. The music video was over sexualised. Like I don’t see what is so sexy about binding over filing cabinets, filing papers, shredding paper. The dance was okay, nothing really grand or memorable from this area at all. (Though, the rapper can sing and rap). But beside that, this comeback really does not fit into what the girls usually do, and unfortunately, that was a disappointment for me. 3/10

So the next review theme is actually a solo artist that is a part of a girl group. After promotions with her band, Song Ji Eun, made her solo comeback with her first mini album. But more on that tomorrow. See you next time!!!



‘End Of Year Music Festivals’ Favourite Performances

Woah, 2013 is over (Soz, a tad late) and each year KPOP fans always end up looking forward to the end of year music festivals. These “festivals” are held on the final days of the year by the 3 major boradcasting companies of South Korea (ie. KBS, SBS, MBC). It is a stage where the artists who are active during the year can come together and celebrate by putting on some music and performing different stages from the ones that they had promoted during the year. So this means there are many different collaborations between artists or remix stages which would have fans screaming for. Because there happens to be little songs to review at this time of the year (end of Jan, don’t ask why), I thought I do this and release it in time for the Vietnamese (Or Chinese) New Year!!!!!

KBS Gayo Daechukje

  • Honestly, I was not satisfied with any of the collabs. They seem to be a last minute thing which made the show rather messy. They had good songs, but Iw as not satisfied with the way they were presented.
  • Crayon Pop’s Bar Bar Bar was a good stage. The start got everyone hyped up and when the song actually started, boy was the screams loud! It was rather fresh and different stage that everyone must’ve had enjoyed.
  • EXO’s Intro + Growl sounded amazing. Now if only they were not replayed 563495630295634092560 times this year and everyone talking about them, I would not think poorly of them. However the intro and the performance was really good.
  • APINK was one of the few bands to throw in a new instrumental for their “sexy version” of No No No. I enjoyed the dance and I liked the new mix.
  • Beast had a pretty cool stage as well. They kept their normal instrumental but made something interested out of it.
  • Sistar’s “femme fatale” Give It To Me looked really good. Minus the not so good looks of the dancers, I really liked their dance break and Dasom has my heart beating even faster.
  • Miss A’s remixes were amazing this year. I like them much better than the actual song. Amazing right?Well, honestly it is just a new instrumental over some parts and then the actual song itself. And Min, walking away like a boss and carrying on singing after getting hit in the face.

SBS Gayo Daejeon

  • First stage which I enjoyed was VIXX’s On & On and VooDoo Doll. I honestly thought that Hyde and On & On would have been a better match, but they still seemed to pull it off pretty well. I think I am turning into a fan. Damn.
  • Z:EA and Nine Muses collaboration stage with Ghost Of The Wind, Glue and finally hit song Bounce was another stage that literally got me into it. It is such a good stage with the two bands together, where it was Nine Muses first time and Z:EA’s second time since debut.
  • Another collaboration stage goes to Girl’s Day and APINK’s Expectation and No No No. Honestly, it seemed APINK had less airtime than Girl’s Day. Not sure about the detail, but it kind seems unfair. But both suited the stage every well singing each other’s song.
  • Crayon Pop’s Bar Bar Bar was pretty good. But the camera work destroyed the good stage.
  • T-Ara had a lot of hate, but I seemed to enjoy this stage. Number 9 but vampire version. Not much change to the song, except for really creepy dance breaks. And BOOOOBSSS!!!!!
  • 2NE1 had an alight stage. Though they just sang Missing You and Do You Love Me?, this still had remarkable stage preference.
  • Taeyang and G-Dragon seemed to had some fun on stage. I liked the lineup of songs they had coming. They sung 1AM, Crooked, Ringa Linga and Bad Boy. Considering that the whole group as not there, they did a good job filling up 3 other parts as well.

MBC Gayo Daejejeon

  • Miss A’s classy club mix for Hush sounded the best and probably has to be my most favourite stage out of all the stages listed here. It sounded to sexy and cool all at the same time.
  • T-Ara’s Number 9 and What Should I Do was a great stage. They combined the two songs into a club beat kind of song which flowed pretty well, considering the two extreme opposites for each song.
  • Ailee’s rapping before her performance , U&I, was da bomb.
  • F(x)’s Rum Pum Pum Pum was pretty good as well. Was not as impressed with the original version though.But the instrumental and ending of this stage was awesome!!! And finally F(x) gets a stage remix for an end of year festival.
  • B1A4’s rock remix for What’s Happening? was also a pretty cool performance. Literally got me going with the beat.
  • Infinite brought a new thing to the stage with Destiny remixed with the instrumental of Deception. Something that was quite unexpected but sounded pretty good despite the two songs sounding completely different.
  • Give It To Me by Sistar was pretty cool as well if the little bit of dubstep (I think) mixed in the song as well. Hyorin’s intro with Sweet Dream was pretty cool.
  • Kara’s medley of songs was pretty good. And considering the departure of two members, it fitted the occasion. They performed Lupin, Step, Damaged Lady, Mister and Honey (not sure about the last one though.

If you watched the performances, which one did you like? Honestly, when I was watching the performances on YouTube, all I thought was that it seemed too much like a normal music show rather than something to be called a “End Of Year Festival”. I think these stages are losing their purpose. But anyway, still a fantastic line-up and amazing stages!!! What were your favourite stages of the three nights?

Singing Got Better – Ailee

Source: http://www.soompi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ailee-teaser.jpg

Ailee has finally returned to the stage with a new song. This time around, she shedded her usual powerful image for a more relaxed and quieter image. The past few songs by the artist has showcased her powerful vocals in a a brighter yet more powerful image. In this comeback, everything seems to have been toned down, but yet she has still managed to wow us all with this amazing song. This song was recorded before her actual debut song, Heaven and has been contended as a comeback song in place of I Will Show You and U&I, however has been pushed back because the other tracks were better. To know this is a song that has been around for quite some time and yet we have not heard it, is pretty amazing. I wonder what other songs she has up her sleeve?

The song this time around is a ballad. It is much different from her previous songs, as they were more of the pop genre. But even though it is a ballad, the song still manages to showcase her vocal ability, proving that she is still the top of the game. Her voice just amazes me everytime she comebacks and I literally believe that everytime she comebacks, her “Singing Got Better”. Too subtle? No? Damn… But anyway, the song is a little slow at the start for me, but that chorus is really good. It is not the best song out there, but this song is pretty high up there at the moment for me. It is great for a change in style for once in a while though. Beside that, there is not really anything to talk about the song. Pretty good!

The music video is okay. I don’t know if this is the correct word to used to describe it, but I found the music video quite “mute”. There is nothing that suggest it is a loud music video. You don’t here what is going on in the video, but we see what is going on in the music video as the song plays in the background. The way Ailee walks as a celebrity further proves this as she walks quietly, without making a loud noise. Or even disturbing society. While the guards are serious about protecting her, she is just in her own world, as if no one is around her. The music video shows her life as a small recording artist and her songwriter boyfriend played by Lee Joon. Poor dude because he always play the role of the player. In Hyuna’s Bubble Pop. He also gets killed in This Is War and Iris. Quite concerning. But anyway, this music video is quite realistic and has a solid plot that I can follow from start to the end.

I am glad she toned her performance down as well. The version you hear when you play the music video is different to the version she sings live. Why? Mainly because I don’t think is needed for her to destroy her voice on stage singing those same high notes day after day.

9/10. Amazing comeback. But seriously, what other songs does she have up her sleeve?

Happy New Year!!!


Hi all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Wow, 2013 is finally over. Can you believe it. With days to go, I will be unable to update this over my “break”. Beside that I have scheduled a whole heap of reviews. I promised you guys an End Of Year Charts, and with that very day 3-4 days away, I think it is time unleash the beast. Party hard! Welcome the new year in style! I will wish to see you all back on the 2nd of Jan 2013 (subject to change). At the very bottom of this post, there will be two links. One is a playlist for the winners of the BOB’s and the other is the top 20 songs of the year, as selected by this chart. Yay!!!!

Position Title Artist
1 Female President Girl’s Day
2 G.R.8.U (Your Impressive) VIXX
3 Tonight Spica
4 Hush Miss A
5 Damaged Lady Kara
6 24 Hours Sunmi
7 Voodoo Doll VIXX
8 Give It To Me Sistar
9 Expectation Girl’s Day
10 Only One Gummy
11 Be Ambitious Dal Shabet
12 Red Shoes IU
13 Number 9 T-Ara
14 Very Good Block B
15 Everybody SHINee
16 Kill Bill Brown Eyed Girls
17 Destiny Infinite
18 I Don’t Know FIESTAR
19 Only You VIXX
20 U&I Ailee
21 Madly FT Island
22 Love Blossom K.Will
23 Love Options BESTie
24 What’s Going On? B1A4
25 Growl EXO
26 Gone Not Around Any Longer Sistar19
27 Yoo Hoo Secret
28 While You Were Asleep JeA (Brown Eyed Girls)
29 1.4.3 Henry (Super Junior M) Feat. Amber F(x)
30 Dream Girl SHINee
31 Wild Nine Muses
32 Thriller BTOB
33 Goodbye Dasoni (EXID)
34 Insane A-Jax
35 One Shot B.A.P
36 Lonely Christmas Crayon Pop
37 Confused AOA
38 Bar Bar Bar Crayon Pop
39 Glue Nine Muses
40 Twenty Four / Seven 2Yoon
41 Jeon Won Diary T-Ara N4
42 I Like That GLAM
43 Tell Me Tell Me Rainbow
44 Stupid In Love Mad Clown ft. Soyu (Sistar)
45 Rocking Teen Top
46 No No No A-Pink
47 Why So Serious? SHINee
48 Baby I’m Sorry MYNAME
49 Dreamer History
50 The Letter Davichi